There are infinite elements that make up any given space. Accessories, including area rugs, decorative screens, drapery hardware, artwork, and mirrors are the finishing touches – and sometimes the defining elements in residential and commercial spaces alike.
Generally defined as pieces that serve in a helping or supplementary role, Auxiliary Furniture includes everything that aids the central purpose of a space. For a workspace, this can mean movable items like utility carts and lecterns as well as fixed pieces such as planters and recycling stations.
Undeniably the most important facet to great architectural and interior projects is the detailed design that goes into the building and construction. From facade systems, windows, and doors, to architectural woodworking and finish carpentry, building elements are constantly updated to be more durable, environmentally-friendly, and intuitive to the needs of our modern society.
Residential ceilings typically use flush mount coverings like standard wallboard, wood, cornice moldings, or ceiling tiles. Drop ceilings, common in commercial construction, use suspension or grid systems to place a decorative ceiling beneath the structural ceiling. This approach conceals mechanical and electrical components, plumbing, pipes, and wiring while allowing maintenance access. Materials for drop ceilings include decorative wood, mineral fiber, wool, fiberglass, gypsum, and metal. Specialized fabrics and felt tiles or panels may be used for sound control.
Flooring covers a significant amount of square footage in any given project, so it goes without saying that it has substantial impact on the end result. Consider the desired level of comfort, durability, longevity, maintenance, and cost when making your selection. Wood flooring, laminate flooring, masonry flooring, vinyl flooring, and resilient flooring offer long-lasting solutions; carpeting is a soft alternative; and area rugs provide a less permanent option with a transformative capacity. Don't be afraid to mix and match.
One challenge with healthcare furnishings is to find a synthesis between the high demands of the venue and aesthetic appeal, as studies show that a comfortable environment is linked to good patient outcomes. Manufacturers and designers are thus making efforts to introduce biophilic elements, bright patterns/colors, and furnishings with a residential feel. Common categories include overbed tables, caregiver stools, bariatric seating, treatment chairs, and sleepover seating. Technology carts and wall stations recognize the needs of providers – speeding up workflow while enhancing ergonomic comfort for doctors and nurses.
The kitchen is the heart of the home while the bath plays a vital supporting role. Outfitting each requires sinks, faucets, and casegoods. Kitchens also require appliances like ovens, cooktops, dishwashers, refrigerators, and range hoods; while bathrooms need the extra infrastructure of bathtubs, showers, and toilets. Commercial venues have specialized needs like toilet partition systems and urinals.
Lighting is a tremendously diverse category offering multiple opportunities to improve the function, aesthetics, and ergonomics of a space. Most locales require a mix of lighting typologies—from ambient lighting to task lighting to accent lighting. In general, residences will focus on aesthetics; workspaces will prioritize function; and hospitality venues will require a healthy mix. An effective lighting plan will consider the type, range, and frequency of activities in a given space and develop a strategy accordingly.
From countertops and vanities to cladding, featured walls, and art displays, multipurpose surfaces give spaces a compelling finishing touch. Creativity abounds in this category with a variety of material options including glass, metal, laminate, and resin.
Bring the indoors out with a variety of infrastructure to make outdoor living hospitable. Decking is a natural transition between interior and exterior that provides the foundation for outdoor living. Outdoor furniture can be every bit as comfortable as indoor furniture, while weathering the elements. Paving materials enable paths to explore the yard and surrounding landscape, and shade systems let you weather the heat.
Paint gives decorators and property owners a big bang for the buck – completely transforming the look of a space for very little cost. Stains maintain and enhance the look of natural wood while also providing protection from wear and U.V. light. Coatings include primers, urethane finishers, crack-fillers, and enamels.
As work styles have evolved, seating options have increased. With the rising trend of ancillary furniture, task chairs no longer dominate the office. Lounge chairs, settees, café chairs, and booth-style seating with privacy panels have joined the ranks of modular seating, benching, and multi-purpose stacking/nesting chairs.
The myriad strategies for organizing essential items. Residential storage harmonizes function and aesthetics in the form of credenzas, bookcases, and open shelving. Workspace storage improves flow and enhances efficiency. Cubbies and lockers provide individualized storage of personal items. Mobile pedestals provide easy access to files and papers, and high-density systems are integrated with office infrastructure for a space-saving approach to large-capacity storage.
Surface Accessories are the behind-the-scenes players that aid or enable finished surfaces. Examples include flooring adhesives, backer-board for tile, mortar, wall compound, and sealants.
The humble table has evolved. Beyond traditional dining tables and side tables, the category now encompasses a variety of surfaces that aid both solo work and group collaboration. Café tables enable working on the go or in social environments. Conference tables may be permanent statement pieces or lightweight and mobile accessories for a dynamic workspace. Outdoor tables provide versatility to weather the elements while getting users closer to nature.
Beyond aesthetics, textiles vary in strength and durability. These materials, made of interlacing fibres, include wool, silk, cotton, flax, jute, asbestos, glass fibre, nylon, polyester, and acrylic. Leather is inherently durable, created via the tanning of animal skin.
Walls delimit and define space, not only determining the configuration and the amount of usable square footage, but also substantially affecting a room’s character. Walls may be finished with plaster & gypsum board or adorned with a variety of decorative and acoustical wall panels. They may be covered with patterned paper or textured fabric. And they may be modular—easy to move and demount for reconfiguring a workspace.
The office has evolved and expanded into today’s dynamic spaces. Versatility is paramount, as the workplace must adapt to fluid working styles. Elements that support this new paradigm include sit/stand desks and other height-adjustable systems, modular workstations that may be individualized to support different degrees of openness and privacy, and fully enclosed pods that house individuals or small groups for focused work or collaboration.